JEFFERSON CITY — Compared to his opponents in the race for Missouri Secretary of State, Libertarian candidate Wes Upchurch is young — very young.
"Everybody I talk to is like, ‘Oh, it's the young candidate,'" Upchurch said.
PERSONAL: 21. Single.
PARTY AFFILIATION: Libertarian
CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: wesupchurch.com
OCCUPATION: Certified Web master
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in general studies, ITT-Memphis and Columbia College.
BACKGROUND: Member of Columbia's Internet Citizens Advisory Group, has worked in Internet design and business professional development with Fläkt Woods' Missouri subsidiary, SEMCO in Columbia.
WHAT'S THE JOB?
The secretary of state prepares all statewide ballots and certifies
statewide ballot measures proposed by the General Assembly. The office also has the responsibility to
canvass, certify and publish election results. The secretary of state
regulates securities and enforces state securities laws. The office
also operates a division for maintaining corporation registrations and
other corporate filings. The business division
of the Secretary of State's Office commissions notaries public and
registers all Missouri businesses. The office maintains various
official records for the state, including the Missouri Register and
Missouri Code of State Regulations. It also maintains the state's
official archives. The secretary publishes the Official Manual of Missouri.
The State Library is part of the Secretary of State's Office. Secretaries of state serve four-year terms. The salary is $104,608.
But Upchurch, a 21-year-old Web designer from Columbia, is using his youth to mobilize young voters. He said he has seen an increase in Libertarian Party groups on Missouri college campuses.
Upchurch said he has been well received in younger crowds, but he wants to make sure all voters view him as qualified.
Glenn Nielsen, chairman of the Missouri Libertarian Party, said Upchurch has been particularly active on the Internet through Facebook and MySpace.
"At the Twilight Festivals (in Columbia), young people kept coming up and saying, 'Wow! Hi, I know you from Facebook,'" Nielsen said.
Nielsen said Upchurch has been diligent about the campaign.
"As an individual, he has demonstrated from an early age that he is a go-getter," Nielsen said.
"I was pleasantly surprised that he diligently went and reviewed the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary of State's Office and found exactly how he would run the office differently."
Upchurch said that government is becoming more intrusive and that Missouri needs a smaller, more efficient government.
"The government likes to meddle in what you do, but they don't like it when you look at what they do," Upchurch said.